Sunday, April 08, 2007

Robert McDowell remembered

TERRE HAUTE — Mary Ann McDowell talked to her grandson, Army Spc. Robert Matthew “Matt” McDowell, for the last time March 19.

“He was very happy,” the Terre Haute woman said. “He said in a way he hated to go back, but he knew he had to go back. He wasn’t sorry.”

Matt McDowell, 30, was killed Sunday in Iraq when the vehicle in which he was riding hit an improvised explosive device.

He was “very lovable, lots of fun … He was a good kid, all around. Not much of a sportsman; he liked to build things and tear them up,” Mary Ann McDowell said with a laugh.

The last time she and her husband Billy saw their grandson was December 2005 when he came for a visit for the first time in many years, she said. Before then, they had probably seen Matt McDowell a few times since 1990, she said.

When Matt and his brother were children, Mary Ann had a nickname for them.

“I called him and his brother ‘my darling boys’,” she said, wiping tears from her face. “He came up to the door one day with his mother and his brother and I said, ‘Well, who is that?’ and he said, ‘It’s your darling boys, grandma!’”

She said she didn’t have much to say when her grandson enlisted in the Army.

“Well, it was his choice,” Mary Ann McDowell said. “There wasn’t too much that grandparents can do about it when they’re of age.”

This was McDowell’s second tour to Iraq. He had just returned to Iraq after a brief visit with his wife, Daniella, and son Nathan Matthew, who was born March 6 in Evans Mills, N.Y.

Based out of Fort Drum N.Y., Matt McDowell served with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, said Kim McDowell of Mobile, Ala., Matt’s father.

He had left for Iraq in August to serve as a military policeman. He served as a helicopter mechanic for his first tour of Iraq, which lasted almost a year, the father said.

Kim McDowell also learned that his son was promoted posthumously to sergeant, he said.

Matt McDowell used to live down the street from his grandparents when he was a boy, Mary Ann McDowell said.

“We all lived close,” she said, because her two other sons’ families also were in the area.

Her grandson’s family’s back yard used to touch his uncle’s back yard, she said.

When Mary Ann McDowell last spoke with her grandson, she said, “he was very adamant that we should be over there, we should stay over there,” referring to U.S. military involvement.

“… He was where he should have been,” she said.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made. McDowell’s body is expected to return to the United States today at Dover, Del.

“We loved him very much,” Mary Ann McDowell said, “going to miss him.”

From the Star

Related Link:
Robert M. McDowell dies of injuries from I.E.D.